Home Remedies for Slugs

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Slimy and unattractive, the slug slithers throughout a garden and creates a great deal of issues for vegetable patches and outdoor flower arrangements. However, with a collection of home remedies for slugs hidden up your sleeve, you can drive slugs out of gardens and protect your next crop of tasty edibles or beautiful blooms.


What are Slugs?

Simply put, a slug is a snail without the shell. Both are mollusks that use a slimy substance to travel in and about the ground, in search for their next meal. Slugs eat mature plants, young seedlings, fungus, fruit, and vegetables. They destroy cabbage, lettuce, strawberry, and tomato plants. They cause ornamental and flower gardens to wither, especially lilies, dahlias, salvia, and marigolds.

Slugs are most active during the nighttime, when skies are cloudy, and immediately after a rainstorm. Any other time, they are hiding under loose leaves, at the bottom of planting beds, and under rocks. Since wet conditions are prime for the development of a slug, they are found out and about anywhere from when the ground thaws in the springtime until it freezes in the fall [1].

Slug Home Remedies

The practice of using home remedies to get rid of slugs is nothing new. Cabbage leaves to rocks to wet newspaper have all been used to attract slugs, where protective barriers comprised of ash, lime, and coal tar have helped keep slugs out of gardens. When you’re faced with a slug problem, consider the handful of popular approaches listed below:

a) Ashes:

Around your garden, create a border of ashes to deter slugs. The ashes adhere to the bodies of the slugs, which draws away their moisture.

b) Salt:

Sprinkle salt on slugs and they won’t live too much longer to do any damage to your plants.

c) Aluminum Foil:

When slugs have attacked your garden full of cucumbers and other vegetables, mix strips of aluminum foil with your garden mulch to keep slugs away [2].

d) Sandpaper:

Keep slugs out of your potted plants by placing used sanding disks underneath the base of your pots. Make sure the sandpaper is wider than the pot base.

e) Crushed Eggshells:

Eggshells can create a jagged barrier for a slug trying to enter your garden. Slugs make it a practice of not touching objects that are sharp and abrasive since it literally kills a slug to repair deep scratches on their skin.

f) Copper:

Copper offers an alternative to slug control that satisfies someone looking for a humane way to protect a garden. Use old copper hanging around the house to repel slugs without taking their lives. Apparently, when a slug meets up with copper, a small yet effective electric shock is delivered. Place copper around individual plants – whether it is a tape, wire, or a round band.

g) Beer:

Did you know that slugs are attracted to beer? Trap slugs by burying a container filled with an irresistible drink. Cut an empty juice container (like a liter soda bottle) lengthwise in half and pour ½ a can of warm beer in it. Leave it overnight. In the morning, you should find a collection of the pests that have drowned in the container. You can also fill the container with salted water and entice slugs to come by placing cut potatoes around the rim of the container.

h) Fine Thread:

If you wrap your individual plants with fine thread, slugs become trapped and can no longer climb up the leaves.

i) Powdered Ginger:

When trying to keep slugs out of your garden, create a barrier made out of powdered ginger.

j) Dryer Lint:

Create a barrier around your plants and seedlings by using the lint found in your dryer.

k) Epsom Salt:

Sprinkle Epsom salt in the parts of your yard where slugs frequently dwell and watch the numbers of slugs in your garden decrease.

l) Natural Plant Slug Repellants:

Include the flowers and plants in your garden that slugs find repulsive to help keep the pest away. For the most part, a slug has no interest in artemisias, daylilies, fresia, lemon balm, red cabbage, alyssum, azaleas, daffodils, grapes, mint, lungwort, rosemary, red oak leaf lettuce, basil, evergreens, corn, fennel, cosmos, chard, foxglove, hibiscus, parsley, sages, tansy, pumpkin, sunflowers, chicory and endive.


[1] http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2010.html
[2] Reader’s Digest Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things; pg 43